WASHINGTON (AP) – The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a $ 8.3 billion game to combat the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak and threatens to profoundly impact the economy and daily life in the United States.
The rapid and overwhelming bipartisan vote was a relative rarity in a deeply polarized Washington, D.C. It happened just nine days after President Donald Trump outlined a $ 2.5 billion plan that both Republican supporters of the president and his Democratic opponents said it was insufficient.RELATED
The 415-2 vote was taken after the president of the lower house Nancy Pelosi overcame a tactical withdrawal due to vaccine guarantee prices, followed by a few minutes debate.
“The greatest responsibility of the government is to keep Americans safe,” said the chairwoman of the Committee on Budget Allocations Nita Lowey. “This emergency addresses the coronavirus and takes critical measures to protect the American people from this growing and lethal outbreak.”
The Senate may approve the project on Thursday and send it to the White House for Trump’s signature. The measure was finalized in just over a week, and almost triples Trump’s request, driven by fears of a growing threat from the virus.
Trump will surely sign the initiative, which is approved by the main Republican legislators, such as the majority Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, and the main Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.
“This moment requires collaboration and unity,” McConnell said. “It is time to give our public health experts and health professionals the resources they need at this difficult time.”
The agreement was finalized after Pelosi rejected a demand, opposed by the pharmaceutical industry and the Republicans, to ensure that any vaccine and drug treatment developed with government-backed research, but manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, is offered at prices ” affordable. ” Pelosi chose to avoid a confrontation that would have delayed the progress of the measure by Congress.
Instead, more than 3,000 million dollars will be allocated to research and development of vaccines, medicines for treatment, and diagnostic tests, including 300 million dollars for the government to buy such medicines at “fair and reasonable” prices to distribute them. to those who need it, which is the standard that was applied for previous crises such as the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak.
It will also provide more than $ 2 billion to help federal, state and local governments prepare and address the threat of the coronavirus, including 300 million for the rapid response fund of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another 1.3 billion dollars would be used to help fight the virus abroad.